The mix in Every Second Tuesday is eclectic, the stories and poems deliciously delightful, crammed full of the unexpected and perfect for those with only a small window of time to indulge in their gentle obsession of reading the written word.
In 2018, Tim McQueen from Vision Australia Radio commissioned Elwood Writers to create a series of pieces in celebration of the centenary of Armistice Day. They were to be read on his program Cover to Cover.
I scratched my head for a story.
‘I’ve got nothing to write,’ I told my partner. ‘I don’t know anything about World War I.’
‘Yes, you do,’ Tom replied. ‘Your two grandfathers were in that war, and your great uncle.’
To my surprise, I was reminded that my maternal grandfather, Dr John O’Brien, had been an army surgeon at Australia’s ill-fated campaign in Gallipoli. To me as a child his post-war life looked so prosperous and comfortable, I couldn’t imagine him ever having been at what became a godforsaken strip of Turkish beach.
With much research and a stretch of the imagination, I wrote ‘Down to the Sea’ as a mixture of fiction and memoir. It formed part of the group’s quadrilogy for the radio program, and is now included in our eclectic anthology, Every Second Tuesday.
If you haven’t already registered for a free, online ticket to the launch of Every Second Tuesday by Elwood Writers, you can do so at the following link:
The woman brought him a bar of chocolate. He didn’t usually eat chocolate, but she’d loosened the wrapper for him and he didn’t want to hurt her feelings. He placed an oblong in his mouth and allowed it to melt into claggy sweetness upon his tongue. He ate the entire bar, piece by piece, and when he’d finished he folded the wrapper carefully and put it in his anorak pocket and fastened the flap.
From ‘Just Martin’
I wrote the short story ‘Just Martin’ some years ago, and have tried to place it in a variety of journals and competitions. I’m thrilled that it has found a home in the pages of Every Second Tuesday. I was discussing the story’s journey with another member of Elwood Writers recently. They suggested, and I’m paraphrasing, that perhaps for some readers a difficult aspect might be that they are not sure by the end if Martin is or will be okay. The story represents only a couple of hours at most in the young boy’s life; even if he is okay for now, there might be many such episodes ahead. Perhaps to some extent we are left troubled, wondering whether he has the resources to survive well in a difficult world. I feel that the moment where he places the folded chocolate-bar wrapper into his anorak pocket is important; that it tells us something significant about him and about the way he is in the world. I’d like to think he’s going to be just fine.
We interrupt this series of anthology teasers to let you know that Every Second Tuesday is now available to buy from Readings, our hosts for the launch on 9 December. You can get your copy of the book here. Quick, before they sell out!
If you happen to be in Melbourne, you could visit the St Kilda branch of Readings to pick up a copy. But give them a call first to reserve one.
If ebooks are your preferred way to get your literary hit, then head to your favourite ebook retailer for a copy.
My short story ‘Duets’ features in Every Second Tuesday, the new anthology of work by Elwood Writers.
What inspires one to write a short story? My motivation to write ‘Duets’ was different from usual, when I’ve recalled an episode from my childhood, or been moved by a particular experience, or tried to put myself in the place of someone else. In the case of ‘Duets’, I saw that the Henry Handel Richardson competition was to be judged by my writing hero, Helen Garner, and I wanted her to read my work.
The competition required that the short story have ‘some link to Henry Handel Richardson and/or her work’. I had recently read her first novel, Maurice Guest, much of which is set in the Leipzig Conservatorium – a world that interested me because I was writing a novel set in a musical environment. The story that emerged was: ‘a glimpse into the life of Madeleine from Henry Handel Richardson’s novel Maurice Guest ‘. Madeleine is a sensible and well-organised student, never frivolous, never passionately in love and I imagined how that young woman might have become a school principal’s wife, where she would have an intellectual more than a passionate compatibility with her husband. My own maternal grandmother (only about ten years younger than Henry Handel Richardson) had made a career out of being a school principal’s wife and I drew on my childhood memories as I developed my own older Madeleine.
My grandparents lived in a flat in the grounds of the school where Grandad was principal and I used my memories of this as a setting for ‘Duets’: ‘the scuffling of feet as the boys were summoned to bed’ [page 122], the dingy sitting room in the flat, ‘furnished in deep-red brocade and dark wood, the darkness broken only by cream lace antimacassars on the back of the upholstered chairs’ [page 115].
Helen Garner did get to read my story and I was awarded an honourable mention. The judge’s comment was: ‘A shocking and very touching and strong story about a child’s suffering and despair, and the breath-taking dishonesty of adults.’
The publication of Every Second Tuesday, an anthology of our writing from over the last ten years, is being held back until early November. By that time we anticipate seeing a little more stability in the literary landscape as new and exciting models of delivery are embraced.
In the meantime, here’s a peek at the book’s back cover:
And before the anthology arrives, we have the release of Barry’s collection of fiction to look forward to. Broken Rules and Other Stories is coming out on 1 September. More information is available at the Transit Lounge website, here.
So please stay tuned – there’s a lot happening this year, and we’ll be providing plenty more updates along the way.
Helen McDonald’s poem New is published in the anthology Love’s footprint from Poetica Christi Press. Congratulations to Helen. We’re looking forward to reading her work and that of all the other poets featured in this beautiful volume.
“This beautiful collection of writings explores the landscape of loss. It will meet you where you are. You’ll find yourself reaching for particular pieces that somehow articulate how you’re feeling, even before you’ve found the words to express it yourself … May this book become both a friend and a warm companion.” Petrea King, Quest for Life Centre.
Margaret is pleased to be a contributor to the anthology ‘Jewels of San Fedele’, which comprises the work of 14 women who attended a writing retreat in Italy, 2016. The ‘experiential’ classes were designed to have students deepen their work. Margaret’s two stories are excerpts from a memoir in progress.
‘Jewels of San Fedele’ is edited by D Ferrara and Patricia Florio, and is available from Amazon at the following link: